“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” – Oprah Winfrey
I know, I know. The larger than life figure starts getting hated because there is a bit of obnoxiousness to being larger than life. But considering I started watching Oprah as a middle school student, I must pay homage to some of the life lessons I have picked up along the way. Twenty-five years of inviting someone to share a part of my day, I must admit, I have learned a lot. So, drum roll please……my Favorite Things from watching Oprah:
Books – I don’t know if I would have read some of my favorite books of all time if it were not for the book club revolution from our friend Oprah. East of Eden tops my list of favorites, but I could go on and on about the nuggets she passed my way….. She’s Come Undone, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, This Much I know is True, The Road…..the revival of the book club was truly a gift.
Good Advice – After watching shows about life lessons of others, I learned some important information. These tidbits of wisdom seem so obvious now… but it really was eye-opening conversations when we first learned of these sad tales. Other people’s stories became my lesson book….. putting a face to stories of human tragedy, fulfills the reason these people went on the show to begin with, to bring purpose to their pain. Examples include:
- Never leave your child in the car alone, even for a second.
- God forbid if you ever get attacked, never let someone take you to a second location.
- We must be aware of the multitude of child abusers in this world. Vigilance is mandatory with our children’s computer time and the people we allow into our lives.
Live Your Best Life – Oprah connected with me that while TV is a fun medium, it can also be used to share deep stories and great life lessons. Some thoughts I keep from the show include:
- We all have a calling…..and the faster we figure it out and live it out, the more meaningful our lives can become.
- It is important to understand the power of now and to be present. Mindfulness of gratitude will bring you even more to be grateful for.
- Connecting with God can still be discussed in the middle of the day on network TV and as something that is good.
- Need is great all over the world and we can be creative and loving in the ways we give back.
- Your childhood is going to find its way into your adult relationships….better to mend your childhood and move on rather than see it repeated over and over.
- Live within your means and be smart with your money, but surround yourself with things you find beautiful. Your home is your sanctuary and it should rise up to meet you.
- For goodness sake, no matter how much you love someone and how big a star you are, you should never go jump up and down on a couch and act like a crazy loon.
Forgiveness – There are many teachers that have spoken forgiveness to me, but one of my lessons of forgiveness came from watching an Oprah episode. It was 1993, and I was watching a girl and her father reunite. He was asking forgiveness for not being present in her life, and she was bitter and hard-hearted toward him. I found myself rooting for the father and telling the girl to move toward a fresh start. It was a mirror to my own life. I saw myself, estranged from my father with chip on my shoulder, with many hard years ahead if I did not make amends. So, a decision was made then to explore a relationship and to hopefully create healing. Years later, I know that taking those steps of forgiveness and mending that relationship has made me a more complete and secure person. Right time… right place… right message… with a very good outcome.
I appreciate Oprah’s example of listening to one’s calling and living it out. When done authentically, it makes a difference in others lives. So, while I’m sad it’s over, I am thankful for the abundance of good stuff that I grabbed along the way. Farewell, Oprah, thanks for the memories but more importantly, thanks for the growth.